The Son Review: Whose Child Is It Anyway? Like Father

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Summary

Some decent ideas and effective intrigue help this Argentine psychological thriller along, but it’s not conclusive enough to land with much impact.

It isn’t cool to be a man anymore. Perhaps it never was. Either way, the oppressive gender isn’t easy to garner sympathy for these days, which immediately positions Sebastián Schindel’s Argentine psychological thriller The Son in an odd place. It’s a paternal spin on the age-old childbirth anxiety thriller, this time about a renowned beardy painter, Lorenzo (Joaquín Furriel), who becomes increasingly fraught at the idea of his sexy younger wife Sigrid (Heidi Toini) having replaced his infant son with someone else’s.

Arriving on Netflix today, June 26, The Son’s deliberately ambiguous script was adapted by Leonel D’Agostino from the novel by Guillermo Martínez; it’s a deliberately inscrutable tale full of symbolism and trite social observations, none of which amount to as distinctive an overall experience as the film seems to think. But its uniquely male perspective provides a refreshing enough slant on the played-out parental drama, acknowledging that matters of marriage and parenthood are just about the only arenas in which men are at an unfair disadvantage.

The film’s narrative architecture is recognizable; anxiety over the birth and raising of a child has been a ripe cinematic subject basically forever, but especially since Roman Polanski’s 1968 horror classic Rosemary’s Baby, however uncomfortable it might be that Polanski’s artistic and personal legacies are both defined by children. The Son isn’t as rooted in allegory as something like Darren Aronofsky’s awful Mother! or as profound an exploration of theme as Jennifer Kent’s Australian contemporary classic The Babadook, but it operates within the same kind of framework. It’s also effectively weird and intriguing for about as long as it lasts.

The problem is that The Son doesn’t leave you with anything substantial to chew on once it’s over. There are some good ideas and provoking themes, and the leading performances lend a believable degree of distress and confusion, but ultimately it’s a thin film that works just well enough in the moment to distract from how little of a long-term impression it’s leaving.

Jonathon Wilson

Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.

18 thoughts on “The Son Review: Whose Child Is It Anyway?

  • July 27, 2019 at 3:02 am
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    I can’t give it a F I give it Half F-it SUCKED!!

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  • July 27, 2019 at 9:12 pm
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    I am not convinced this was the anxiety of a father themed movie. Seriously the mother hides having the baby, hides from the father for 6 months, goes to pediatric after pediatric….I think the father was not…..just was not crazy but was he? what Was it that the pediatric women wasn’t really a doctor or was the woman’s mother, etc. I actually didn’t care….. too many confusing bits for me to follow. The lying about ‘do you want more food’ when they are sitting at the table. Needed more. The ending what was that ending, we heard a male voice, a baby and the horrid older woman’s voice. Very confusing.

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  • July 28, 2019 at 2:36 am
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    It was so confusing I went back to scenes to see if I missed something. I thought it would be similar to Rosemary’s Baby but it left you confused with no closure. I don’t know if this is a movie about evil spirits or aliens. 1 star because somebody put in the work to make the movie.

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  • July 28, 2019 at 1:49 pm
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    I decided to take the supernatural route with the ending (and the movie, in general). Consider some of the elements from the movie:
    1. Her son, purportedly, suffers from photophobia
    2. They feed him raw meat smoothies (is that what they really fed him?)
    3. The general sense of old world Europeaness (again, this is very subjective) in the mother’s interactions with her midwife/nanny

    I interpreted this to mean that the baby was some sort of a vampire or a product of some sort of a satanistic cult. A modern day vampire or mutant that had to be protected from the rest of society.
    I guess we’ll never know.

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  • July 29, 2019 at 2:27 am
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    Strange movie. I suppose I could accept all of the plot if I had to, BUT…what was that ending? What the hell was that anyway. Is this a sequel? It ended that way. I am still curious

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    • August 1, 2019 at 1:46 pm
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      I wldnt waste my time watching a sequel unless there were answers
      Seriously frustrating ending!

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  • July 29, 2019 at 1:17 pm
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    They made this movie so confusing that they couldn’t give it a proper and logical closure.

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  • July 29, 2019 at 7:26 pm
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    What is the point of a mystery suspense thriller if you’re never going to reveal what the mystery was? I felt like the joke was on ME when the credits rolled. To have invested 2 hours into a pretty engaging plot, interesting characters some top notch acting and production values only to come out the other end completely empty handed was either dirty pool, or shotty script writing. This is the kind of foreign film that will unfortunately give skeptics of subtitled movies, plenty of ammunition. .

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    • July 30, 2019 at 12:48 pm
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      This is EXACTLY the correct analyses. I agree with the earlier post by Trusty that commented it seems like with the Romania angle and other hints and it was going for vampire child or something, but there was just no final reveal or even final hint other than to show that the father was for sure not crazy. Nobody who watched the movie would really think he was crazy though considering how it showed the mother was acting. It never tells us why she became that way or how, and what it was all about. It was extremely disappointing since the acting was pretty good that the movie is essentially empty of any purpose. Waste of time.

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    • July 31, 2019 at 12:56 pm
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      Terrible ending, however for me it felt as they were telling my story of the past 9 yrs. Incredible resemblance and a perfect description of what goes on when lorenzo receives the letter from her lawyer to mediate for shared custody after not allowing any visitations for months.. Only because they need his signature for an overseas trip for his son to meet extended family overseas. But no visitations for his dad who lives two blocks away jajaj.. And of course the court orders for the dad to sign and wait till they come back from the overseas trip to start negotiating for father visits. Insane how these thing are allowed to happen in 2019 and believe me.. They happen! But still.. Really bad ending.

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  • July 30, 2019 at 6:25 am
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    Ok.. So this movie is not a psychological Thriller, it trys very hard to be but isn’t. What to look for in a psychological Thriller, does it hold to logic.. No at the point where the separation starts is where a normal person would start taking evidence to give to police.. By the time she is refusing to show her child he has the right to call social services for mental well-being.. Let’s move on.. At the point of the child getting ill.. A normal father would have called a hospital.. Since she doesn’t have a pediatrician, this story falls apart at the beginning.. Because theres no real logic!
    Moving on the father shows no real symptoms of any disillusion but the mother is showing abusive tendencys… I could keep going but the movie is truly trash. Or the writting that is.

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  • July 30, 2019 at 9:17 pm
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    Don’t waste your time watching.

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  • July 31, 2019 at 1:04 am
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    Since nobody is sure what the ending meant, then I won’t blow it if I give my opinion. The mother is a biochemist with a creepy, locked lab in the basement. She was either injecting something in her pregnant self OR taking a sample from herself (amniotic fluid?I don’t know!). So right there she gives me the feeling she is messing with something to do with baby. Then there is the father looking into Henrik’s eyes and having a bad reaction to what he sees. Then there are all the window units in the creepy basement windows. Then the mother suddenly giving equal parental rights out of the blue. Then at the end, Lorenzo sees all the suitcases his ex has packed and he discovers a baby in the creepy basement. It is now as clear as the nose on my face. She is CLONING babies to sell on the black market. You are welcome.

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    • August 2, 2019 at 8:56 am
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      Yes, this makes some sense, unlike the actual movie.

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    • August 6, 2019 at 9:28 pm
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      Same analysis, the mother cloned the baby. Not sure though if she is selling that. Notice that when the father went to the basement he saw the human embryo books and some baby images. When the lawyer saw the original baby Hendrik in the basement, it seems he didn’t grow up as he is still doing the baby talk or it could be another cloned baby. The adopted cloned Hendrik after two years can talk in a normal way. What is not clear is the motive of the mother to do such things.

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  • August 1, 2019 at 1:43 pm
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    Warning
    Watch film at your own risk
    Seriously stupid ending
    Leaves you seriously fuming!
    Leave it alone!

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  • August 5, 2019 at 6:55 am
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    Intriguing movie, I’m assuming there’s a part 2, in fact it was a so good,that maybe they could do 5 parts,I have ideas how this movie could make a epic twist, it’s mysterious but, I want to see more….

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    • August 18, 2019 at 3:48 pm
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      ??? What a hilarious comments I’ve seen about this movie. I think it was exactly they wanted. Leave the mysterious. Anyways, I do believe that the baby was cloned and she chose to stay with the “perfect child” as she thinks or she had twins and chose for the one she “prefers”. Either ways, she had some psychological illness.

      Evidences:
      1. She used to write books about perfectionism;
      2. She was medicating herself;
      3. She had a creepy lab in the basement;
      4. He couldn’t see she giving birth;
      5. She had a miscarriage once, maybe she miscarried on purpose because had some complications about her medications;
      6. She was sick.

      By the way, the end could be a little bit more conclusive rather than that s***! ??????

      Reply

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